Monday, September 29, 2014



Everyone is appalled at the cruelty of ISIL – but should we be?   The natural desire of groups to live fear free, and especially the affluence of our country, allows us to maintain a system of laws and standard of behavior that suppresses the darker nature of our human kind.
We are all (especially males) capable of heinous cruelties toward people ‘not like us.’  You see it in wars and insurrections and mob violence…  When the veneer of civilization is removed the human being often reverts to its baser animal instincts.

You want a snapshot of the nature of human beings?  Just watch elementary kids on the playground barbarize the week and different.
Our closest kin in the animal kingdom is the Chimpanzee.  We share 98.4% of our DNA makeup with our simian cousins.    When we see the actions of a marauding band of male chimps attacking a weaker band we are seeing a mirror image of ICIL.

From the earliest history of mankind, cruelty toward weaker groups or individuals has been the bloody legacy of our species.  War is the natural state for humans and peace the interval for rearmament.

Stoning, beheading, lynching, burning, electrocution, gas chambers, shootings, knifings, beatings, drowning, rape, torture: How can I kill the?  Let me count the ways…

We are all capable – and capable of justification…
We can put a hellfire missile up your ass baby, and that evening go home and have a barbecue with our family.
Decapitating: It is an atrocity when someone else does it; but when we nuke a quarter of a million men, women, and children – we are the good guys; just bringing peace, justice and the American way to the ‘others’ - the bad guys.

I’m just saying:

the Ol’Buzzard

Friday, September 26, 2014



I love wolves.   Hearing them at night and seeing them at a distance running in a pack transports you to a more primitive place and time - a past that still exist deep in all our ids.    

The blog Phantsythat (a must read) recently posted a video of wolves in Yellowstone.  I have filched it and present it here.   

text link to Phantsythat

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Sunday morning my wife and I decided to go to the local truck stop for breakfast.   We had forgotten that the county fair was still in session so when we arrived the place was packed.  We thought about leaving, but as my next favorite place to have a really good decadent breakfast was about ten miles away – and we were hungry – we found an open booth and settled in. 
The place was full of fair goers, some truckers and a group of bikers from New Hampshire.   Along with the restaurant being crowded the noise level was so high we had trouble just talking across the table and being understood.   There was even a child screaming from some corner table, but for a change that did not bother me, for it just added into the den. 
The waitress came over and took our orders.  My wife ordered corned beef hash and eggs and I had the truckers special: three eggs, bacon, toast and french-fries.

One of the waitresses was having a bad day, and was slamming dirty dishes into a container so hard she actually broke at least one of the coffee cups – every ten minutes or so we could hear the crash as cups and saucers were unceremoniously dropped (or tossed) into the collection bin.

You might think that this was a miserable breakfast out; but, the food was great – cooked perfectly, the coffee was good, no one was being obnoxious, and no one was on a cell phone – because it was too noisy.  With the exception of that one waitress, people were just having a good time.

We do prefer a quitter atmosphere; but there is something about brisk fall weather and fair season that makes a crowd feel natural and invigorating.

the Ol’Buzzard

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The President spoke about the United States’ obligation to respond to the threat posed by ISIL.   The fact is – there is no good option.   The Middle East is a quagmire of religious strife.   Regardless of what the US does; how many military die; how much it cost; there is no good, lasting solution.  The Sunni and Shia Muslims have been at blood war for over a thousand years, and nothing the US can do will change that.

Colon Powell told the Bush administration that ‘if we break it we will own it.’   And, we broke it.

Saddam Hussein maintained a balance of power throughout the Middle East and when the US invaded Iraq and removed Saddam it unleashed the sand storm of ethnic violence.
Even though we were the initial cause of the problem with our Nation Building, defeating ISIL should not be our responsibility.   The neighboring Shiite countries endangered by ISIL have the primary responsibility to band together and confront their mutual enemy.  But it is not likely they will act when they can wait on the United States to step in and expend its wealth and manpower to confront their enemy? 

The US has no loyal allies in the Middle East.   No Muslim country will align itself with what, in the Middle East, is viewed as a Christian nation and the Great Satan.  They will gladly accept foreign aid and military aid, but they can never be counted on as a staunch ally.

Saudi Arabia is a perfect example.    They overtly align themselves with the US.   Saudis work with the US to stabilize oil prices; they depend on the US to protect oil shipments in the Persian Gulf; they hold major investments in US companies; they have the fourth largest group of international students studying in the United States; many of their military officers are trained in the United States; and they have made huge purchase of high tech US military equipment.

 In return Saudi Arabia has opposed the State of Israel; they have joined in oil embargoes against the US; they opposed the invasion of Iraq; 15 of the 19 hijackers that attacked the Twin Towers were Saudis; and, according to the US State Department wealthy Saudi donors constitute the most significant source of funding for Sunni terrorist groups – including ISIL.
We must ask ourselves: Does ISIL pose a threat to the United States?  And the answer, of course, is ambiguous: ISLIL does not pose an immediate threat to the United States, but may in the future; however, it poses a present and immediate threat to the surrounding Shia nations in the Middle East – yet they choose not to act militarily.

So what do we do?   We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

the Ol’Buzzard


the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014



I have taught elementary school, middle school, high school and been a principal.   It has been seven years since I have been in a classroom.

Most people remember their school years with less than found emotions.   Children come from homes with various levels of stability that truly represents a cross section of the community: wealthy homes; stable homes with enrichments; single parent homes; families living in poverty; homes with violent parents, drug and alcohol addicted parents… The list is as varying as the community itself.   

It is safe to say that no two children are experiencing the same home life and same life pressures.  They come into school with different degrees of abilities, advantages, emotional stability and attitudes.

 Adding to this, in the classroom we try to fit them into a one-size-fits-all-mold – a homogeneous curriculum dictated by educational bureaucrats and mandated by politicians. 

Then, children have to deal with the social pressures inflicted by their peers - often cruel and sometimes violent. 

We have all been there – we have all lived through it.   No wonder we have conflicted feelings about school.

Most parent’s knowledge of school come from their experience as a student – from a child’s perspective.   Nine months a year the parent’s responsibility is to make sure their kids get off to school.  Many parents cannot tell you the name of their children’s teachers, or even recognize them in passing – much less understand the function and dysfunction of the local education environment.

Education is a complex bureaucracy and does not necessarily have the actual education of the students as its top priority.

Superintendents are strictly political animals; they know nothing of the actual culture, educational standards taught, teachers or classroom conditions in the schools they supervise.   They serve at the pleasure of the school boards that hire and can fire them.  They are 99% politicians and 1% educators.   Their primary concern is keeping their job by keeping the school board happy – and much of it is smoke and mirrors.

Principals are mainly site administrators.   They are responsible for the school budget, physical plant, teachers, support staff, safety and welfare of the children; and to insure that some type of coordinated schedule, in line with state standards, is maintained.   Principals are the minions of the Superintendents.   Their tenure – their jobs – depend on covering the Superintendents ass; and they exist knowing that no one has their back.  The Superintendent will sacrifice a principal in a New York minute if a site problem reaches the attention of the school board.

And then there are the teachers.   I have often wondered why anyone would make a career of teaching. 

The only true educators in the school system are the teachers.   Teachers come to school each morning tasked with teaching a bloated curriculum aimed at preparing the students to pass some arbitrary, politically required test.  The only purpose these test serve are to give politicians bragging rights that they are fixing failing schools.   

In the classroom the teachers deal with disruptive and rude students, students with no interest in learning, and special needs students that are ‘mainstreamed’ into the regular classroom. 

Even with these difficulties teachers still care about most of their students, and do their best to actually present educational material tailored to each child’s ability. 

Teachers are underpaid and underappreciated.  They are the whipping post of politicians.   It always burns my ass to hear some parent harping on and on about their child’s teacher.   To become a teacher requires a minimum of four years schooling plus internships.  Teachers have to pass a rigorous test to become certified, and then teachers are constantly, formally evaluated including classroom observations.  In order to recertify on a state mandated schedule teachers are required to complete a number of college level continuing education classes.   Many teachers have Masters Degrees and above; whereas the only qualification for being a parent is the ability to breed. 

I have little patience for people that complain about their public schools.  Perhaps we should close all public schools and fund only home schooling programs – you chose to have them – you stay home and teach them.  A few years of parents dealing 24/7/365 with their children would either result in a dramatic decrease in the national birth rate or a renewed appreciation for the public school system. 


School days School days

Dear old golden rule days

the Ol’Buzzard

Saturday, September 6, 2014




Three days ago the price of gas at our local station was $3.54; yesterday it was $3.51 and today it is $3.57.   Can anyone explain this?

In a  normal business model you buy a product at wholesale price, you add a percentage mark-up as a profit margin and sell the product retail at a fixed price.

Now, a gas station buys bulk wholesale gas at the price of $X.00, the owner figures his profit margin and set a price… then the next day he raise it, and the next day the raise it again and that evening he lower it?   This is the same gas that he paid a fixed amount of money to purchase; so, why isn’t the price fixed until his next purchase?  

And, who decides on the price changes? 

I feel like someone is sitting in an office in some corporate behemoth, and to break up the monotony, a couple of times a day, tosses a dart at a string of numbers; then pushes a button and thousands of gas station owners run out and change their prices.

Is this some kind of collusion between the oil giants and the financial section – something to do with gas futures?   If so it is a fuck job on the general public and should be government regulated (but, of course, the lobbyist that actually run this country will insure that regulation of the oil and financial sectors never happen.)

My Toyota RAV-4 has a twelve gallon gas tank, I get twenty-five miles to the gallon and I travel less than seven thousand miles a year; so this isn’t an ISIL terrorism level concern for me.

But I can’t help but ask: What the fuck?

the Ol’Buzzard

Thursday, September 4, 2014


I have emerged from the Windows 8.1 jungle, and surprizing enough the journey turned out not to be as dificult as expected. There are a number of tutorials on line that give a basic understanding, and once you understand how to access a few commands the self learning curve in not steep. There is still much to explore but that will come in time.

My wife prompted me to purchase a new computer because she was tired of hearing me swear and complain about the freeze ups and slow speed of my old machine that I had purchased in 2006. At Walmart I found a HP Pavilion 500-223 with 8GB DDR (whatever that is) and 1TB harddrive that cost just under five hundred dollars. As computers go that is not expensive - but to me that is a lot of money. 

I did not realize how antiquated my old machine was until I began to use the Pavilion. The speed is amazing and the apps that come installed give a whole new meaning to the world wide web.

The only thing lacking is a good word processor. Word Pad could meet all my needs except it has no spell checker which leaves my writings looking like Bubba script.

The computer comes with Internet Explorer and Bing. Google Chrome was such a pain in the ass on my old machine that I hesitate to down load, so will probably run without it for the time being.

Out of the jungle and unscathed but still leery of what may still be hiding under the dark canopy wating to waylay me aroung the next river bend.

the Ol'Buzzard